Caudwell Children has issued a donation plea after publishing a report revealing an alarming reduction in disabled children’s access to vital services and facilities during the pandemic.
The national disability charity has been supporting disabled children from across the UK during the pandemic, and has carried out a survey of families to find out more about the impact of 18 months of lockdowns and restrictions.
The findings point to a direct link between disabled children’s wellbeing and their access to vital services and support. More than 8 in 10 parents and carers report that access to services they normally rely on has reduced dramatically.
Other findings in Caudwell Children’s report include:
95% of parents and carers say their caring responsibilities have increased in recent months.
Three-quarters of parents and carers agreed when asked if they need a break from, or extra support with, caring responsibilities.
Almost two-thirds of parents and carers say they typically have less than half an hour of free time each day.
More than two-thirds of parents and carers say their child’s access to sports clubs and facilities is worse than before the pandemic.
Today, with Covid-19 restrictions set to ease from 19 July, Caudwell Children is calling for donations to help the charity deliver more of the services that disabled children need.
Caudwell Children’s Chief Executive, Trudi Beswick, said:
“The last 18 months have evidently been a challenging time for disabled children and those around them.
“Our report underlines what we have long known: that disabled children need society to be more inclusive, with the right support in place to help them flourish.
“We hope that this message – and many other lessons from the pandemic – is taken on board and helps to shape a more inclusive future. One in which parents and carers do not feel that they have to battle to access services for their child.
“We need the generous support of our supporters to help us deliver services that will help to make that a reality. So please make a donation if you can.”
Since the start of 2020, Caudwell Children has offered its Short Breaks activity clubs to more than 400 disabled children from across Staffordshire, Cheshire and Nottinghamshire. The clubs provide families weekly respite while their child attends fun sessions that build their confidence and skills.
Forty-five families whose child attend Short Breaks sessions took part in focus groups to carry out the survey published today. Many provided anonymised feedback that lays bare the difficulties they have face during the pandemic.
Feedback from families included parents who feel their children have been ‘forgotten’ as the system became ‘overstretched’:
“Without charities like Caudwell Children you are lucky to get the bare minimum support.” – parent, Staffordshire.
“The main obstacle is having to chase for hospital appointments and updates. Our child has been forgotten multiple times.” – parent, Cheshire.
“Services are overstretched so referrals are being refused.” – carer, Staffordshire. “It’s difficult to seek support for things if you don’t know it’s available in the first place. It would be nice to have support for parents in supporting their child. My husband has really struggled.” – parent, Staffordshire.
To offer even more support to parents and carers in a similar situation, Caudwell Children aims to support a total of 11,000 disabled children from across the UK before the end of the year – but needs financial support to achieve that goal.
To make a donation and help Caudwell Children to support disabled children visit: www.caudwellchildren.com/donate.
Read the full report here: THE IMPACT OF THE PANDEMIC ON DISABLED CHILDREN’S ACCESS TO SERVICES